Thurber, James Grover


Born: December 8, 1894

Ohio connection: Birth

James Grover Thurber was born in Columbus, Ohio, the son of Charles Leander Thurber and Mary Agnes Fisher.  Thurber’s early career was at The New Yorker where he started in 1927 and remained a prominent contributor for many years. With sardonic humor he examined the follies of men and women, revealing them in his prose as well as his inimitable line drawings. Among his most famous works is “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” a story about a mild mannered man who leads a fantasy life in which he appears over and over again as a hero. Danny Kaye starred in the movie version. Thurber is also well remembered for his hilarious stories about his childhood in Columbus, including “The Night the Bed Fell,” and “The Day the Dam Broke,” both of which are included in his My Life and Hard Times. Among his other books are: Is Sex Necessary?; The Seal in the Bedroom and other Predicaments; The Middle-Aged Man on the Flying Trapeze; Let Your Mind Alone; The Male Animal, a play written with Eliott Nugent; Fables for Our Time; The Thurber Carnival, Alarms and Diversions; The Thirteen Clocks; The Years with Ross, and Lanterns and Lances. Thurber was married twice and had one daughter. On October 3, 1961, Thurber suffered a stroke at his home in New York City. While in the hospital he developed pneumonia, and died November 2, 1961.

Ohioana Book Award second place, Martha Kinney Cooper Ohioana Library Association, 1944, for The Great Quillow; Caldecott Honor Book, 1944, for Many Moons; Ohioana Book Award, Martha Kinney Cooper Ohioana Library Association, 1946, for The White Deer; Laughing Lions of Columbia University Award, 1949; Sesquicentennial Career Medal, Martha Kinney Cooper Ohioana Library Association, 1953; T-Square Award, American Cartoonists Society, 1956; Library and Justice Award, American Library Association, 1957, for Further Fables for Our Time; Antoinette Perry (“Tony”) Special Award, 1960, for A Thurber Carnival; Certificate of Award, Ohio State University Class of 1916, for “Meritorious Service to Humanity and to Our Alma Mater,” 1961.

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